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Hitachi CP-TW2503 Projector Review - Summary

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Jarrod Buckley
HITACHI CP-TW2503 INTERACTIVE PROJECTOR – Summary Key areas we consider important, and summaries below:  Picture Quality, Performance – including brightness and sharpness, Feature set, Ease of operation (remote control, menus and navigation), Warranty and support, and the Value Proposition.

Picture Quality

The images above were all taken using the CP-TW2503's Cimena mode – the projector’s best mode for color accuracy and with a still bright almost 1900 lumens.  The colors are very good in cinema mode.

All of the  Hitachi's picture modes are least fairly good for their intended use.  However, when a really bright mode is needed to overcome room lighting, I would suggest using the Photo mode and when more subdued room lighting is available then the use of Cinema mode.  This projector has extensive adjustments available to the user to improve upon the out-of-the-box performance and a few adjustments to the Photo mode's color temperature custom settings, to reduce the green level and raise the red level a little, will produce improved colors with only a slight change in brightness.  Cinema mode is actually very good with the factory default "Low" setting for color temperature.

Contrast, on the other hand, is typical for a 3LCD projector, which means not as good as DLP or LCoS designs.  Hitachi does include a dynamic iris to help out a bit.  More to the point, in a classroom, this projector will likely never be used in near or full darkness, which is the only time a big difference in contrast ratios makes a real difference.  Call contrast a weakness, but not much of one for the environment this projector is intended to be used in.

 

Feature Set

The Hitachi CP-TW2503 is equipped with a feature set that makes it an attractive alternative for use in a classroom or boardroom.   There are a few features missing from this model that might be important to some potential buyers/users.   First, there is no support for 3D.  While there may be an interest in the classroom for 3D, use is still very limited.  Still, if 3D is in your future, this model is not for you.  Also the interactive inputs that are standard with this model do not include finger touch and if you need this feature, you will have to purchase an extra cost finger touch accessory with a list price of $364.99.

CP-TW2503-pens

Hitachi Interactive Pens

There’s also no zoom lens, but, ultra short throw projectors don’t have zoom lenses.  However, when mounting the projector it only needs to be moved a few inches in and out from the wall to change the image size from 60 inches up to the maximum 100 inches (diagonal, 16:10 aspect ratio).  So that gives you a viable alternative to a  zoom for getting the image size where you need it during the initial setup of the projector.   Hitachi gives this projector digital zoom and magnify controls that can be used to shrink the image or to enlarge a portion of the image to fill the full screen and this may be useful in some situations.

What else doesn’t it have?  Well, it runs on conventional lamps, not a 20,000 hour plus solid state light source such as led projectors or laser projectors.   For most, though, that’s just fine.  Hitachi lamps for this model typically sell for $130, or a little less, and lasting a claimed 2500 to 4000 hours depending on full or Eco mode,  The cost to keep this projector supplied with lamps is only a few hundred dollars to get to that 20,000 hour mark typical for LED projectors.  Considering that the least expensive solid state light engines add roughly $500 to $2000 to a projector’s cost, those provide the convenience of not having to change a lamp every few years, but lack the strong value proposition of a well priced lamp based projector.  Further, technology may make all these projectors obsolete if not used 40+ hours a week, before anyone gets near 10,000 hours, let alone 20,000.

This projector has some useful interactive features that work very well.  In addition to the two included interactive pens, with support for up to 4 pens, there is an extra cost accessory (not evaluated for this review) that allows finger touch sensing.  The projector also comes with a remote control that includes the basic functions to allow it to be used as simple “mouse”.   The CP-TW2503 includes PC and Mac software to enhance the interactive capabilities when connected to a computer.

CP-TW2503-connector panel

CP-TW2503 Connector Panel

This projector has a comprehensive set of interfaces.  There are iOS and Android apps from Hitachi to allow you to use your iPad/iPhone or favorite Android mobile device to present or to interact.  This projector can present off of USB or Wifi (with optional adapter), as well as HDMI, component video, composite, S-video and analog computer inputs.  However, I didn't find any mention of support for MHL over HDMI, which is supported on some competing projectors.

The CP-TW2503 offers a DICOM Simulation mode for use in medical training.  This mode is intended for viewing black and white X-ray images.  The provision of the DICOM Sim. mode along with this projector's interactive capabilities make for a great projector, at a reasonable price, for use in medical school or university classrooms or for other medical training purposes.  We gave this projector a "Special Interest Award" for its capabilities for this application.

 

The Bottom Line

Overall the Hitachi is a very good performing projector that, with a street price of under $2000, is competitive with other projectors in this market segment.  It offers very good color accuracy in its Cinema picture mode and meets it specified 2700 lumens output in its brightest modes.  For those that need a brighter projector, Hitachi does offer an otherwise similar 3300 lumen model CP-TW3003, that has a street price of about $150 more than the model reviewed here.

The CP-TW2503 offers extensive image controls for such things as image geometry as well as for such picture characteristics, including color temperature and  gamma.  A power focus control is provided making setup a little quicker when the projector is not be permanently mounted and perhaps moved between rooms as needed.

Also comprehensive wired and wireless (with optional adapter) network support is provided such that a large deployment of Hitachi projectors can be managed from a single location.

Is it a "best in class" or a "best buy", perhaps not, but it is a solid product capable of competing against other business and education ultra short throw projectors in the $2000 price range.  However, we gave it a "Special Interest Award" for it combination of capabilities (i.e., DICOM Sim. mode for viewing X-ray images combined with the projector's interactive capabilities) that makes it a great choice for use in a medical training application.

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